Like any artist I am contantly re-assessing my work - endeavouring to move forward, experiment and interpret the new ideas that constantly fill my head. But often I am concerned that this 'experimentmental, try-out' time is not exactly productive, not quick enough for it to be a success
I am not saying that I consider it to be time wasted but often when working to deadlines and workshop/exhibition dates it is hard to let hours go by on a 'what if 'train of thought.
Developing new themes, ideas, techniques takes time and an awful lot of energy and effort, and whilst I advocate the 'dont throw it away' line, I find that weeks can fly by in this experimental mode of work.
Recently I was struck by a rather strange thought. It started with a locally organised open water colour exhibition - anyone could submit a painting ( and it had to be a painting - no stitch and no medium that would detract from the water colour medium itself). It was open to all residents here on the island - both professional and amateur artists.
So I submitted a painting of 'fox terriers' gaily going on a parade in a garden. A funny little picture painted spontaneously, no planning or deep thinking - just a happy little picture.
The competition was judged by a group of artists - they had a whole load more paintings than was necessary and therefore several were rejected.
But my 'foxterriers on parade' was accepted and duly hung in the gallery. The following day I returned to the gallery only to find the picture had been sold (almost immediately) and was proudly displaying the official red dot! No-one was more surprised than me! The painting was a long way from my usual technique and a long way from embroidery or textile art.
It has caused me to re-assess.
I am not a watercolourist -textiles , threads and the like are my tools of the trade and my preference. But I have now discovered I have more or less always had dogs somewhere in amongst my experimental work. When I return to my old sketchbooks, trials and experiments they are to be found, lurking, almost without any acknowledgement or credance - funny little fox terrier figures , funny little dog figures and sketches .................. just there.
Cant really say I have noticed them before and it certainly is not a theme that I have considered or even given any serious consideration to.
By allowing myself the time to revisit ideas, time to experiment, develop, move forward the dogs have appeared now in textiles, old fabrics , old textiles. The little figures have been developed into 3 dimensional figures and these two are the prototypes of what will be a long journey, a journey to get them right, to enable them to appear from the sketchbooks into a medium that is my choice.
Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to allow oneself this time, the very special 'what if' time that as artists we so desparately need in order to progress , and to 'see' those small details that so easily can be overlooked.